Farmington COVID mask-maker leads Founders Festival parade

Farmington resident Holly Bartman doesn’t think of herself as a hero, but many local health care workers and families might disagree.

The grand marshal of Saturday’s Greater Farmington Founders Festival parade set aside her quilting business last March to crank out cloth masks, surgical caps, and headbands with mask buttons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maria Taylor Johnna Balk David Delind for Farmington city council
Holly Bartman masks

By the time she stopped, Bartman had distributed 50,000 of them.

“We were putting out 300 a day for a while,” she said. “I had cars lined up with people waiting for me to drop off on my porch.”

Holly Bartman
Holly Bartman (contributed)

Bartman’s teen-aged sons helped. Several friends ironed the fabric, making it easier to sew.

“It just became part of our lives,” she said. “It was nice to have all the help I did. I got to know a lot of people.”

Bartman said donations helped cover her costs. Some people had a greater need than ability to contribute, and vice versa, so it balanced out.

When she rides in Saturday’s parade, Bartman said, “Hopefully, I represent the community as a whole. I’m really happy that I live here. It’s a good community where people come together.”

With the theme “Heroes and Villains,” the Founders Festival parade presented by Beaumont Health steps off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, from Power Road and Grand River. The parade moves west and ends just past Farmington Road.

To learn more about the festival, visit

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